Living beyond ourselves...
This is what I am trying to teach my daughter, and how very hard a task it is.
When she doesn't want to finish her dinner or eat her lima beans, I try pull the same, tired old rabbit out of the parenting hat. "Don't you know there are kids in Africa that have nothing to eat?"
She blinks. Africa? What is Africa?
It never works...
In Lucy's world, there is only us. She has a roof over her head, clothes on her back, a warm bed to sleep in at night, food in the refrigerator and family and friends to love on her and receive her love in return. There are no starving children. There are no children crying because they have no parent. There is no TRUE want.
Trying to teach her that we have self-control has proved to be the most challenging. When she cries and I tell her, "That is just about enough of that," she still FEELS sad, so cannot stop the flow of tears. How do I teach her that we must learn self-control?
But do I even have complete self control?
Do I know at starving child in Africa?
Have I ever, truly been without?
Do I have a heart that is sensitive to the idea that I am blessed and there are countless people out there that are not? And what do I do to help those people? What can I really, honestly do?
But how great is our God to give us countless opportunities to live like Him...
My children have seen me direct their father to turn the vehicle around and trudge through the snow to give a homeless man a hot Starbucks and a wad of money. They have heard stories about their Great Aunt chasing down thugs who stole a homeless man's backpack and demand that they give it to her so that she can return it. They have seen their grandparents serve others, from feeding the homeless to fixing daddy's car when a body shop would be too costly. They have seen the pictures of their grandfather's mission trip to Africa...and the want and need that the children there suffered. They sat and listened as he explained where Africa was and how Jesus needed people like him to love on the people there.
And so I stand on faith that they really are learning how to serve and love others; learning to live outside themselves.
Because what I want more for them than anything else in the world, is to learn to love others in such a way that they reveal the face of Jesus. Yes, they ARE blessed. Yes, they ARE fortunate and loved. And yes, they WILL learn how to gift others with the same things.
That's all I want. I want my little family to learn how to love the Lord, love themselves, and love others. Self control and selflessness will come with the growing pains. But oh, how sweet the growing pains are...